Sunday, July 23, 2023

Barbie brings patriarchal and matriarchal philosophy to the masses

Barbiemania is taking hold right in time for my daughter’s 10th birthday, and the whole family took her today to a Sunday morning showing of Barbie in Wheaton.

She loved all the pretty shades of pink and the great soundtrack that makes the movie a bit of a musical. Meanwhile, adults can love all the jokes about gynecology, masturbation, virginity, and patriarchy, which are really pretty subtle.

Will Ferrell lends an Austin Powers feel to the proceedings as the leader of the Mattel corporation. Margot Robbie is now confirmed as a Brad Pitt/Leo DiCaprio-level star as Stereotypical Barbie, leading the other Barbies through a newfound wave of sadness and depression, even being relegated to second-class citizens of Barbieland by Ken and the other Kens, and then into a path towards being able to feel. Ryan Gosling’s abs are mesmerizing while his brain is more like The Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz - mostly missing. But even he eventually comes around towards trying to feel what it’s like to not be entirely dependent on Barbie and “beach.”

Greta Gerwig makes a gargantuan (but not really gargantuan) leap from her independent film acting and directing. She takes that indie sensibility and pastes it right smack into mainstream land, in a big way, forcing us to more deeply consider the ongoing gender wars in a fun, candy-colored wrapping.

There is so much content and media for us all to process these days. But I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say that this is indeed (at least this season’s) Land of Oz.

5 out of 5 stars

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